4 ‘Gotchas’ That Could Derail Your Front Entrance Security Upgrades

Be certain to consider throughput, training, service and safety before installing any solutions.

4. Safety, too, is rarely discussed during the bidding process. However, it is the one factor that could quickly and possibly tragically undermine the success of the project. Most security entrances use a barrier of some kind. The more sophisticated barriers use presence sensors to detect objects or users. Before buying, ask how a product prevents entrapment or contact, and how it responds to either event. The answers should then be weighed against your security vs. safety needs, your users and their ability to be trained, the product’s response to an incident during peak periods (does it stop and require re-badging?), and whether large objects are typically carried or pulled behind.

Example: A California software company wanted a secure revolving door that only allowed authorized users to enter at night and also provided piggybacking prevention. During the day, however, they wanted the same door to allow the public to enter along with any children for a daycare center inside. The architect was unaware that piggybacking prevention and public use don’t mix very well, especially with children involved. A security revolving door requires users to be trained. The door’s small quadrants, which are ideal for a single person and piggybacking prevention, lack the trailing door wing sensors that large automatic revolvers must have for public safety. This is because such sensors would stop the door far too often.  Due to frequent contact incidents, the company decided the public need was greater than the piggybacking prevention and they had to incur the expense of replacing it with a manual revolving door that had a night-locking feature with an access control system to allow off-hours employee access.

Forget Campus Culture at Your Own Peril
We’ve discussed seven crucial decision factors here, but there is one more factor to consider: culture. Culture permeates all the other decision factors and is critical to success. Do people care about their personal safety in Boise at the same level as those in Manhattan? Are all management stakeholders involved in the buying decision, from CEO to finance to HR
to administration to residence life to the facility manager? Is there high employee turnover or students requiring recurring training? Campus safety decision makers should understand your campus or company culture and be willing to assist in implementing a culture shift through communication and training.

Example: A state university in North Carolina installed optical turnstiles with drop arm barriers at its recreational facility to prevent unauthorized access to gym equipment and reduce liability. A receptionist registers each student with the access control system and then opens the barriers. This ensures that freshman get an orientation to entrance procedures. Eventually, over several years the university will phase in a biometric access control system that will allow bypassing the receptionist. At first, it will be voluntary, rewarding those who register with an expedited entry. Eventually, it will be universal. This staged approach ensures a smooth culture shift. 

Example: Another more drastic example of culture affecting the deployment of security solutions happened a few years ago at a West Coast internet company. A new CEO was hired, and he ordered the turnstiles in the front lobby to be removed because “this company isn’t about barriers.” So, it pays to inform the CEO of new security measures and why such measures were taken! Speaking of the West Coast, some companies allow dogs to come to work, which greatly affects which security entrances can be used safely and effectively.

The success (or failure) of a security entrance project must start and end with a comprehensive, consultative process that considers the full range of factors for the ultimate decision. As we’ve seen above, a conscientious leader can preside over a process that includes most of the eight essential criteria. However, forget one and even a careful, comprehensive effort can result in a big “gotcha” that brings a new security entrance project to a crashing halt.

Greg Schreiber is the vice president of sales for Boon Edam Inc.

 

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